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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

January 04, 2006
War Kills Babies

Not such startling news, but something we shouldn't forget.

I don't know all the facts about this story but it does worry me. We all know that civilian deaths in Iraq (and Afghanistan, for that matter) have been woefully underreported by the USofA media. They report only deaths from "suicide bombers" or deaths that are in such high profile across the world that ignoring them would cause more problems than reporting them.

According to the latest UNICEF report (2005), in 2004 the under-5 infant mortality was 122,000 in Occupied Iraq, 359,000 in Occupied Afghanistan and 1,000 in the occupying country Australia (noting that in 2004 the populations of these countries were 28.1 million, 28.6 million and 19.9 million, respectively) [(http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/index.html)].

About 1,300 under-5 year old infants will have died in Occupied Iraq and Afghanistan on Christmas Day alone, 0.5 million will die in the coming year and 1.7 million have died post-invasion due to non-provision by the US-led Coalition of life-preserving requisites demanded by the Geneva Conventions (http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm).

I am completely unable to believe that women and infants have been deliberately targeted by 'coalition' troops. Which doesn't mean it's not true...just that I find it impossible to believe. In short, I don't think it's true. But it's true that there have been thousands of deaths where the USofA public has absolutely no information on what happened or how.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:25 AM


Anne -
Don't you find it curious the author failed to include the following passages on the same UNICEF site he quotes:

Even before the most recent conflict began, many children were highly vulnerable to disease and malnutrition. One in four children under five years of age is chronically malnourished. One in eight children die before their fifth birthday.

The recent war and its effect on children have to be seen in the broader context of Iraq's situation, which is unique in many ways. An eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and the Gulf War in 1991 greatly damaged Iraq's infrastructure. The country has been under comprehensive United Nations sanctions for 12 years since the Gulf War.

To reduce the humanitarian impact of the sanctions, the Oil for Food Programme (OFFP) was introduced in 1996, which allowed the Iraqi government to sell oil and use the revenue to purchase humanitarian supplies. The programme helped arrest further deterioration in the humanitarian situation but did not greatly improve conditions for most Iraqis, because of revenue shortfalls and structural problems inherent in the programme. Thus, the basic services infrastructure of Iraq on the eve of this war remained in a deplorable state.

It's not as if Iraq went from 1 to 122. The country was at 50 in 1990. So, how much of the original high number and subsequent increase over the 15 years is due to Sadaam's decision to engage his country in almost continuous war from 1980 to 1991 and then misuse and abuse the humanitarian programs?

Also, while he cites the 359 number for Afghanistan from the website, he also *fails* to mention that the under 5 and under 1 mortality rates have ** fallen ** when one compares 1990 to 2004.

Or forgets to add "UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia Cecilia Lotse is in Afghanistan this week. Her visit serves to draw attention to the work that still needs to be done to improve the situation of women and girls, but also to recognize the significant progress made in the last four years."

The author apparently wants to make completely unsupported claims like "due to non-provision by the US-led Coalition of life-preserving requisites demanded by the Geneva Conventions," play fast and loose with his own statistics and sources, and then complain the media doesn't cover the story?

Posted by: Col Steve at January 9, 2006 09:52 AM